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Steering; Front Forks - Kawasaki KZ500 Manual

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Table of Contents
Steering Play Inspection
1. Prop up the motorcycle so that the front tire
clears the ground.
2. Center the front wheel. Push lightly against
the left handlebar grip to start the wheel turning
to the right, then let go. The wheel should
continue turning under its own momentum
until the forks hit their stop. Try the same in the
other direction.
On some bikes, the wiring and control
cables tend to stop the wheel movement.
I f the steering drags, make sure 11's not
because of wiring stiffness.
3. If,
with a light push in either direction, the
front wheel will not turn all the way to the stop,
the steering adjustment is too tight.
4. Center the front wheel and kneel in front of
it. Grasp the bottoms of the fork legs (Figure
29). Try to pull the forks toward you and then
try to push them toward the engine. If you feel
play, the steering adjustment is too loose.
5. Ifthe steering is too tight or too loose, adjust
it as described under
Steering Adjustment
Chapter Ten.
Steering Head Lubrication
The steering head should be disassembled
and the bearings cleaned, inspected for wear
and lubricated with a waterproof grease
according to the maintenance schedule (Table
I): see
Steering Adjustment
in Chapter Ten.
Air Pressure
A i r p r e s s u r i z e d f o r k s a r e standard
equipment on some models. Both the fork
springs a n d a i r p r e s s u r e support the
motorcycle and rider. The air pressure can be
varied to suit the load and your ride preference,
but it is very important to have the same
pressure in b o t h forks t o prevent an
unbalanced suspension with poor handling.
T h e m a x i m u m allowable air pressure
difference between the forks is 1.5 psi, so be
very careful when adding or bleeding air from
the forks. The best way to guarantee equal fork
air pressure is to install an accessory pressure
equalization line between the forks (Figure 30).
Don't use a high-pressure hose or air bottle
to pressurize the forks; a tire pump is a lot
closer to the scale you need. S&W offers a
combination hand pump/pressure gauge that is
ideal (Figure 31).
Keep the following points in mind when
adjusting the front forks.
a. Increase air pressure for high-speed
b. If the suspension is too hard, reduce air
c. If the suspension is too soft, increase air
d. Occasional bottoming of the forks shows
that you are taking good advantage of all
their travel. Severe or frequent bottoming
should be avoided by increasing air
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